The feminist book they tried to ban in France
Women, especially feminists and lesbians, have long been accused of hating men. Our instinct is to deny it at all costs. (After all, women have been burnt at the stake for admitting to less.)
But what if mistrusting men, disliking men – and yes, maybe even hating men – is, in fact, a useful response to sexism? What if such a response offers a way out of oppression, a means of resistance? What if it even offers a path to joy, solidarity and sisterhood?
In this sparkling essay, as mischievous and provocative as it is urgent and serious, Pauline Harmange interrogates modern attitudes to feminism and makes a rallying cry for women to find a greater love for each other – and themselves.
CWs & TWs
Mention and depiction of sexism
Listen up, I have no idea why I did not read this essay sooner, it was mind-blowing. Not only because all of what the author says has such a deep meaning and strong significance. It answers all the questions and things we have to hear every day as feminists: why do you hate men? Do you hate all men? Do you think all men are bad? Aren’t you too radical? You hate men, but what about your *insert male relative here*. I don’t know what I expected from this essay, but it certainly wasn’t this strong. I swear, I listened to the audiobook and for the first time, I just stood there, all along, not doing anything apart from listening to this. And what a ride. I couldn’t tell you about everything that reflected my own experience as a woman without writing an essay myself. That’s the perfect way to say: yes, this book is about women, not about one in particular.
Because every woman does not hate men, some don’t even see a problem in our society – yes, it exists, sorry to tell you – but those situations, those interactions, those moments when men take too much space and don’t want to give some away, those are lived by every single one of us. And it is a shame, it is hurtful and it is above all not normal. Living in a patriarchal and heteronormative society makes you somehow believe that it is normal, it is fine and you should get used to it. But nothing about women’s lack of rights in the world is supposed to be. This is one of the reasons we can be seen as men haters. Because even here (I live in France), even now, every day still represents a fight. Sure, we’ve come a long way but we have a long to go as well, and maybe men can’t process it.
I learned and opened my eyes to so many things thanks to this book. For example: no, misandry should not be put on the same level as misogyny. Why? Because the first one was born as a reaction to the other, without misogyny, misandry can’t exist. This is also why I hate men does not mean the same as I hate women because it is and will always be an answer to our marginalisation, something we fight with, something to express our anger. Now, time to get personal. I consider myself a feminist, but I never said I hate men, even though I wanted to scream it some times. Oh, don’t worry, it is not that I want to be seen as a good feminist or this kind of bullshit. I never said it because I never wanted to have to answer all of the questions we’ve seen above. I don’t want to have to explain myself. And if there is one thing this book taught me is that, no matter what, you don’t have to explain or justify yourself. As long as you know what the things you are saying imply, you are free to say them.
I felt so empowered reading this, so happy, so strong, so invincible. But I also felt angry, a lot. I felt angry towards society, towards everything our culture put on men to shape them this way. I felt angry towards men, towards those who don’t want to open their eyes to the problems, those who want to drown the fish, those who take our space and don’t see it, those who do, those who will interrupt us, those who will try to explain things to us, those who think we need knights when we just need a « shoulder to rest on ». Please, read this. This is not an essay about men hate, it is one about explaining what it means to hate men, what it implies, what it does not imply. It is an essay about taking back the word hate and giving it all its meaning back. I loved this.
- Have you read this one?
- Do you want to?
How to support me & my work?
- Like, comment and suscribe to the blog to receive notifications for new articles.
- You can follow me here:
- Or you can also help me get fuel to read, write and translate all night long by buying me a little coffee here!
As always, thank you so much for your support and for reading me! I wish you all fantastic reads, and amazing discoveries !